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Family Joins With Lawyers To Challenge Trumpington Road Respite Centre Closure

Application For Judicial Review Submitted


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The mother of a severely disabled man from East London who will ‘lose his second home’ if the planned closure of a local respite centre goes ahead at the end of this month has joined with specialist lawyers to launch a legal challenge against the decision.

Waltham Forest Council announced plans to close Trumpington Road Respite Centre earlier this year, despite more than 80 per cent of respondents to a public consultation on the matter disagreeing with the proposal.

Among those set to be affected is Catherine Tokens, from Leytonstone, whose son Paul – who is 45 and has severe learning disabilities – has attended the centre for the past 25 years.

Following news of the plans, Catherine instructed specialist public lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the case and the legal experts have now applied for permission to launch a judicial review into the matter, arguing on several grounds that the decision should not be allowed to stand.

Mathieu Culverhouse, the specialist public lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing the Tokens family, said: 

Expert Opinion
“The Trumpington Road Respite Centre provides vital support to a number of very vulnerable individuals and the site’s closure will cause huge upheaval to a great number of lives.

“After reviewing the facts, we are very concerned by how the decision to close the centre was reached and believe that it is something that requires much greater legal scrutiny. This centre has played a vital role in the local community for a number of years and its closure may have a significant knock-on effect for those who are reliant on its services.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Partner

The decision to close Trumpington Road Respite Centre was made following a recommendation in a report which included assertions that alternative placements had been identified for those who require respite care. It also stated that support had been found for those needing the highest level of care, including Paul.

However, lawyers at Irwin Mitchell understand this is not the case and are arguing that the decision to close is therefore based on an ‘error of fact’. The experts also believe the decision was taken without enough information about alternative placements being available and argue that the council failed to reassess the needs of those who attend the respite centre.

Catherine Tokens, 69, said: “The centre has made a huge difference to both my life and Paul’s, as it has given me a chance to work full-time and also meant he can get great support outside of our home. 

“He goes there several evenings a week and also has some overnight and weekend stays. It is basically his second home and he will simply not be able to understand why he cannot go anymore. 

“Paul finds change difficult to cope with and breaking his routine will only mean his behaviour will become more challenging. He has built up a huge level of trust in Trumpington Road across the past three decades, so change now could really affect his wellbeing.

“We have long-held concerns about the process that the council has taken to reach this decision and we are determined to fight against it. We want our voices to be heard on this matter.”

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